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The Bay Sarasota
Sarasota Friday, May 18, 2018 2 years ago

Bayfront group to present latest plans

The Bay Sarasota will hold a series of events next week to discuss an evolving master plan for more than 50 acres of city-owned land around the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
by: David Conway Deputy Managing Editor

The Bay Sarasota is holding another round of presentations next week regarding the ongoing effort to create a master plan for redeveloping the bayfront near downtown Sarasota.

The events will include a draft of a single vision for more than 50 acres of city-owned land surrounding the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. In addition to the draft master plan, the presentations will focus on strategies for financing any project and managing the land once it is developed.

The Bay is scheduled to discuss the planning effort with the City Commission at a meeting Monday evening. The group also has three public presentations scheduled:

  • 8:30 a.m. Monday, May 21, Van Wezel Grand Foyer, 777 N. Tamiami Trail
  • 1:30 p.m. Monday, May 21, Van Wezel Grand Foyer, 777 N. Tamiami Trail
  • 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, Municipal Auditorium, 801 N. Tamiami Trail

Capacity for the events are limited. Those interested in attending can RSVP on The Bay website. Tuesday’s presentation will also be streamed online on The Bay’s Facebook page. The Bay will offer a survey online to gather additional public input on the draft master plan.

The plans are shaped by community input gathered following the formation of Sarasota Bayfront 20:20, a grassroots effort to revitalize the land in question. The Bay Sarasota began a more aggressive public push for creating a master plan in December, working with Boston-area planning firm Sasaki to produce concepts for the future of the bayfront.   

Sasaki shared three preliminary concept plans with the public in April. Based on feedback at those meetings, The Bay has refined those concepts into one plan that includes a new performing arts hall, public parkland and more. The plans are still subject to change based on further community input.

The group has held off on discussing financing and governance of the land in detail until recently, as the plans came into clearer focus. Earlier this month, The Bay Managing Director Bill Waddill appeared at a County Commission meeting to talk about possibly creating a tax-increment financing district to support the redevelopment of the property.

Waddill said cost estimates are still variable, but the scope of The Bay’s proposal will likely total hundreds of millions of dollars.

Once a master plan is finalized, The Bay is scheduled to present its recommendations to the City Commission on Sept. 6 for possible approval. 

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